As the Sochi Olympics winds down, it's hard not to marvel at all the ways we humans entertain ourselves on snow and ice. Take the new event of ski slopestyle, which is pretty much a real-life video game: Skiers rocket down a hill laden with steep jumps, do multiple flips and twists in the air, and half the time they land backwards -- on purpose.
It's insane. It's awesome. And yes, like you, I worry about the athletes getting injured. I mean, my God.
But why stop at slopestyle? Let's add a few more extreme winter sports to the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. And to be strategic about it, we should probably get NBC's backing. So let's start by pitching these five new sports to the good people at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
1. Halfpipe Bobsled. Because duh. Get four big dudes who can really sprint, cram them into one of those 12-foot-long space shuttles, and let's see if they can do a Double McTwist 1260 at 80 mph. I'm not sure about the landings, but BMW now makes bobsleds and they're really good at technology and stuff. I'm sure they'll figure it out.
2. Short-Track Curling. Short-track speed skating is a most excellent combination of (a) skating, and (b) crashing. The athletes fly around a rink the size of a living room, they're going 30 mph two inches apart from each other, and when they turn, they're so low that their ears are nearly on the ice. How could you possibly improve on this circus?
Give each skater a 40-pound curling rock. (Doesn't the word synergy belong here somewhere?)
3. Skeleton v. Luge Ski Jumping. Not only does it have a sci-fi movie ring to it, but we can settle once and for all whether it's better to go downhill at 1,000 mph head first on your stomach or feet first on your back. For maximum effect, best to do this event in pairs, and down the larger (90-meter) ski-jump hill. Parachutes might be necessary and I'm guessing it could get expensive, but Red Bull would sponsor it in a heartbeat. Except maybe they wouldn't want the parachutes.
4. Slopestyle Figure Skating. Because it's time to get Yuna Kim, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, and all the other skaters outdoors and on a hill, darn it. Give them uniforms for once, drop them all on the mountain together, and let's see who can do a triple Lutz in a blizzard with another skater bearing down at freeway speed. (Plus, how excellent would it be to have commentary from Shaun White and Johnny Weir together?)
5. Hounding Olympic Athletes Until They Cry On Camera. I know, I know. As far-fetched as the other sports seem, this one is really the most unlikely. Given how inappropriate it is, I'm sure there's no way the International Olympic Committee would approve of it. Certainly NBC wouldn't -- and I can't imagine corporate sponsors getting anywhere near this one.
But bear with me here, because I think this sport could really be a hit with audiences back home. The way it would work is, a reporter would descend on a great Olympic athlete -- say, American skier Bode Miller -- right after he won a medal. The reporter would relentlessly interrogate Bode about his dead brother until Miller finally broke down.
At this point, the cameraman would shove his lens in Bode's face, trying to capture every tear for the viewers back home in an entirely natural, unrehearsed, heart-rending Olympic Moment. And the camera would linger for an excruciatingly long time, to the point where everyone in America would start to wonder why in God's name NBC was letting (excuse me: encouraging) its reporters to do this sort of thing. And Bode Miller would handle himself with grace and dignity despite it all, and NBC would get all huffy and defensive about why it was doing this, and we'd all feel a little sick inside.
On second thought, forget about this last sport. The other four are pretty safe bets for the 2018 Winter Olympics, but no TV network would ever sanction this sort of hounding.
So Bode, rest easy. I'm sure this will never happen. As for you other athletes, get ready. Four years from now, not only will your bobsled be 27 feet in the air, but McDonald's will surely have figured out a way for you to eat a Chicken McNugget while you're up there.
I'm lovin' it.